Wiring the Wise Men: Installation of Noble Park lights takes time

DAVE THOMPSON | The Sun

Joe Flowers (left) works with McCracken County Jail inmates on work release to set up a nativity display in Noble Park Monday. The display is set to open on Nov. 27, and Flowers expects his team to complete the task well before the week-before-Thanksgiving deadline.

On Oct. 1, nearly two weeks into fall, temperatures in Paducah hit a record 95 degrees, less than half an inch of rain had fallen over the past month, and it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

At least it was at Noble Park.

Since that day, Paducah Power System has been installing its annual Christmas in the Park lights display.

Four McCracken County inmates on work release and the light display's supervisor, Joe Flowers, were out again Monday, setting up the nativity.

"The lights have to be up the week before Thanksgiving, but we'll have them up well before then," said Flowers, who retired from the power company about five years ago and has been supervising the light display since then, though he still doesn't know how many pieces the display incorporates.

"I never count them. I'm just always in a hurry to get them up before the deadline."

Flowers said some people give quizzical looks as the lights go up while it's still warm outside.

"What they don't understand is there's a lot of lights and we have to get them up in a short amount of time."

But once the display opens and people observe the final product, Flowers said he appreciates when the eye-rollers get an eyeful and bring their family and friends.

"That makes more people come to it and want to see it, then that makes more canned goods, more money to the charitable organizations," he said.

As more displays go up and the deadline nears, Flowers said they'll be taking some time at night or on cloudier days to test the connections, and park visitors could get an early preview of what's to come.

"The joy that you get when people come through and then they compliment you on the lights … that really means a lot."

The display opens on Nov. 27, and runs through Dec. 31.

Admission is free, but monetary donations or canned goods are encouraged, in order to support various charities which benefit from Paducah Power System's Christmas in the Park.

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